Through the Puerto Rico Coral Reef Program, the Puerto Rico Department of Environment & Natural Resources is working with nonprofit organization Arrecifes Condado to develop an artificial reef and beach nourishment pilot project in San Juan. The pilot aims to improve the ecosystem for turtle nesting, create educational and recreational snorkeling trails, and promote a safe beach environment for engaging in various water sports. It also will induce wave breaking over the offshore reef rather than on the beach, reducing the high turbulence and dangerous rip currents associated with drowning and near-drowning events.
Puerto Rico’s susceptibility to storms is affecting marine life and causing erosion. Artificial reefs, which are submerged structures constructed on the seabed to replicate the characteristics of a natural reef, can alleviate the challenges.
The pilot involves the placement of 7 to 8 tons of native rock placed 100 and 150 meters offshore in a pyramidal shape with a section of about 50 feet between each artificial reefs, allowing marine animals to travel through them. These efforts will also serve to prevent the hardening of the shoreline and other coastal damage.